Thursday, March 29, 2012

Need a Nap?

Today I taught a lesson on making pillowcases and found a wonderful website in preparation for the class.  We made the pillowcases using the "tube method" and in addition to being easy, it was fun.  In order to have a sample, I made a pillowcase for each of my grandchildren and I think both my major Thomas the Tank Engine fan and my own little "Princess of Quite a Lot" will love the results.

The pattern calls for 1/4 yard for the "cuff" and 3/4 yard for the case, but you can make it in other sizes as I did with the Thomas one.  As I was short of fabric, I did a bit of patching and made it smaller than called for, though I believe it will serve for a nap just as well.  In less than two hours, I have made two pillowcases and taught the lesson, so this is a keeper!

If you decide to make one, or more, send a picture so we can see the results!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Kool Aid Kid

Yesterday, Nancy P. and I put away our knitting needles, scissors and sewing machines, donned aprons and became "mad scientists" for a couple of hours to try dyeing yarn.  Lion Brand Yarn recently posted directions for dyeing yarn with Kool Aid and it sounded like fun to us.  While we followed the directions in a general sense, we did some experimenting too.  We tried dyeing some acrylic and wool/acrylic blends in addition to 100% wool.  Though all of the yarns  absorbed the dye to some extent, the 100% wool resulted in the truest and most vibrant colors.  We also tried dyeing the yarn without doing the preliminary soapy bath (we were running out of dishes, hence the flower vase above).    Finally, we eliminated the step of preparing the yarn in a loose hank and stuffed a 50 gram ball of wool into the vase with Cherry Kool Aid.  Our hypothesis proved true - the dye was absorbed at different strengths throughout the ball of yarn resulting in a gentle variegation of pinks.  Nancy has plans to turn this into a hat.  I recently found directions for Kool Aid yarn dyeing that goes beyond the single color and includes a free pattern for a scarf and beret.  Looks like there may be more experimenting at The QuiltedPurl!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Help me remember what knit us together as one...

Yesterday, my cousin Michael Murphy died after bravely battling cancer for over three years.  He will be greatly missed in our family and not just because at 6' 8" he was so easy to find at any family gathering.  Michael had a gentle and giving heart, a ready smile, and a delicious sense of humor.  His son, Austin and daughter, Alexis are testament to all of those qualities and so much of him will live on in them.  We were blessed to have Michael as long as we did.

A few months ago, Michael's sister told me that Michael wanted one of my knitted hats.  I was so thrilled to have something concrete to be able to do for Michael.  Since he lived in Tampa, it never occurred to me that he may have wanted a hat, but a hat he got.  Rosemary and I decided on a blue and it was in the mail hours after it was finished.  A Christmas hat was followed by an alpaca in a shade called Colorado Fudge, so some fudge from the local candy shop went into the box, and finally, a green striped hat for St. Patrick's Day.  Each one was knitted with thoughts, prayers, and love.  Though I know Michael really appreciated the hats, his appreciation paled when compared to the comfort and pleasure it gave me to be able to send them to him.  Do you have someone that may need a hat from your hands?

Last night, my brother, Fr. Austin Fleming, posted this prayer on his blog, A Concord Pastor Comments:

Help me remember what knit us together as one...
Help me to see that the bonds you forged
are not destroyed by death,
that what you knit in my heart need never unravel,
that it's your desire to keep, to hold in your heart,
all that I have treasured in my heart... 

It certainly touched this knitter's heart.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And the Rest of the Day to Yourself!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I remember as a small child, my father teaching us that the correct response to a greeting of "Top of the morning to you," was "And the rest of the day to yourself."  Hopefully you've been wished the first today, and I wish you the second.

For me, St. Patrick's Day is always special as it is my younger son's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Michael!

May the road rise to meet you  
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d'aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Perfect is the Enemy of Done"

Lonesome Stone Fiber Mill, Granby, Colorado

A couple of weeks ago, I broke my hand.  Fortunately, I am still able to piece and quilt small projects, though wrestling a larger piece for quilting will have to wait for a few more weeks.  Knitting is something of a challenge, so my younger son's birthday hat of Lonesome Stone alpaca is on hold for a while too.  Since he lives in Alaska, there is still plenty of time for it to be useful.  One thing I can do easily is move the mouse on my computer and I came across this link through Perkins Dry Goods.  As I am not a perfectionist, it was something of a validation for me to continue in my less than perfect ways.  Enjoy!